March 28, 2014

• Governor has signed KPA legislation on carriers

• I miss my 138 closest friends (honest, I do)

• Hansen, McBride, Mueller, Phillips to be inducted in Journalism Hall of Fame

• Election season means time to establish policy on campaign letters

• Political ad questions? Registry of Election Finance has the answer

• April is Child Abuse Prevention Month; media packet available


Governor signs Worker’s Comp legislation on newspaper carriers 

The “ceremonial signing” will take place in a couple of weeks but officially, KPA’s Senate Bill 105 on worker’s comp concerning newspaper carriers is now law!! Governor Beshear signed SB105 on April 2.

It was technically the last day for his signature before it became law automatically. The State Constitution states that the Governor has 10 days (excluding Sundays) to sign a bill or veto it. If he doesn’t sign it within 10 days, it becomes law automatically.

SB105 puts the newspaper industry at the same level with all other businesses. Carriers are now considered independent contractors. Since the mid 1970s, KRS 342.640 stated that newspaper carriers are to be treated as/considered employees. SB105 deleted that subsection that means carriers are now independent contractors. This could also have an effect on unemployment insurance issues related to carriers.

I know, it’s not Friday; I’m pretending it is

Yep, On Second Thought is a little early this week. Will be on the road, again, this afternoon, heading to Hickman to meet with the newest KPA Board member, Barbara Atwill with the Hickman Courier. The song says, “Six days on the road and I’m a gonna make home tonight.” Well, in this case it’s five hours on the road.

I always have a much greater appreciation for Board members in the far reaches of the state when I make these trips. Whether it’s for a Board meeting, convention, seminar or something else that brings them to Central Kentucky, it’s a long, long haul. I don’t stop to think about the travel time of Loyd Ford or Regina Catlett or Rick Welch or Cheryle Walton coming in from the eastern side, until I’ve been in that same driver’s seat. Look at it this way. By the time I make it from Frankfort to Hickman, I could almost be in Atlanta or Cleveland or St. Louis. That, my friends, shows the dedication of those who serve as your representatives.

And the Western Kentucky Parkway is not the most exciting drive I’ve ever taken.

My friends have gone home and I’m lost

Seriously, previous sessions seemed like they would

I look forward to the tulips blooming in front of the Capitol because that means the 2014 session will be OVER!!

never end. And that huge sigh you would hear was yours truly, and a host of other lobbyists welcoming the respite. It’s a short, two-week break then they’ll be back for the final two days of the session. But I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a session as I have this one. And never have I missed them when they’ve gone home.

We had a good session. Bills on public notices on the Internet, expungement of felony convictions, changes in Open Records, restrictions on taking photographs on private property, still linger but are doubtful to move. Remember, it ain’t over til it’s over. Or the motto, “They can do what they want, when they want, to whom they want.”

We got the worker’s comp legislation on carriers through both chambers with a 125-8 total vote. And that might just have an impact on unemployment compensation for carriers as well. We worked the self-storage unit legislation to get language deleted about using other types of advertising and it passed with our blessing. Few states have been able to get that language (advertising in any commercially reasonable method) deleted from their bills. Just a week prior, legislation with the objectionable language passed an Indiana committee.

We’re still cautiously optimistic after Monday’s marathon sessions in both chambers. When it gets down to the final day or two, amendments come out of the woodwork. Usually those amendments contain language from bills that didn’t make it through, some even never got a committee hearing. But attempts are made to change legislation with those piggybacked proposals. As the hours wind down, they really have little idea of what they have passed. The time isn’t there to read the language but the arms have been twisted to “you pass mine, I’ll support yours.”

The latest Bill Tracker on all the ones we watched

If you want to see the bills/issues that we watched, worked for, worked against then here’s a link to the Bill Tracker Southern Strategy prepared for me. It’s through 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday of this week, a couple of days after they’ve gone home for recess.

In all, 824 bills were introduced during the 2014 session — 240 in the Senate, 584 in the House. Of those, 9 Senate bills have been signed by the Governor and 15 House bills. Waiting for his signature are 38 Senate bills and 62 Senate bills.

So it looks like right now that 47 of the 240 Senate bills introduced will become law. And in the House, 77 of the 584 have the same fate.

If you like stats, you’ll notice we followed 19 bills in the House, 18 in the Senate. But consider there were more than twice the number of bills filed in the House (584) as in the Senate (240).

But they still have two more days — April 14 and 15 — and you can expect more legislation to make it through both chambers. There are some rather big issues on the table — the two-year road budget chief among them — that they’ll have to reach agreements on and pass on to the Governor. Problem is, if he vetoes any of those, they won’t have a chance to override the vetoes.

Seven chosen for Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame

Seven new members will be inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame Tuesday, April 29, at The Grand Reserve, 903 Manchester Street #190, in Lexington. The seven will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at a luncheon ceremony sponsored by the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications Alumni Association.

That evening, the school will hold its 37th annual Joe Creason Lecture in Journalism at 6 p.m. in Memorial Hall on the UK campus. This year’s presenter of the lecture is Mervin R. Aubespin, retired associate editor of the Courier-Journal, past national president of the National Association of Black Journalists, a founding director of the American Copy Editors Society Education Fund, 2010 recipient of Louisville’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Award.  Aubespin, a Tuskegee University graduate, is a 1995 Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame inductee.

The 2014 Hall of Fame inductees are:

•           Elizabeth Hansen, Foundation Professor and chair of the Department of Communication at Eastern Kentucky University;

•           Mark Hebert, former political and investigative reporter with WHAS-TV, now director of media relations at the University of Louisville;

•           Dave McBride, editor of the Ohio County Times-News for more than 30 years;

•           Lee Mueller, who was Eastern Kentucky bureau reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader for 27 years;

•           Mike Philipps, president and CEO of the Scripps Howard Foundation and former editor of The Cincinnati Post and the Kentucky Post;

•           Wes Strader, long-time “Voice of the Hilltoppers” at Western Kentucky University;

•           Hunter S. Thompson, author and creator of Gonzo journalism (posthumous induction).

The seven new honorees will join 189 other journalists inducted into the Hall of Fame since its 1981 inception. Selection of honorees is made by a committee representing the state’s media, the UK Journalism Alumni Association and the University of Kentucky. Nominees must be either Kentucky natives or outstanding journalists who have spent the bulk of their careers in the state.

Information on reserving a seat for the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame induction luncheon is available at  or by calling June Horn at (859) 257-1730.

Please contact June Horn at 859-257-1730 with any questions about reservations.

Need credit card servicing? Remember KPA’s connection with Infintech

Chances are really good that you’ve gotten or will be getting a call from Infintech as the new credit card processor for KPA. Mike Scogin, publisher at the Georgetown News-Graphic, referred Infintech to us and after a few meetings and review of what they offered and how they operated, we were ready to switch. And that move has allowed us to get into online credit card payments more quickly than expected.

Through the partnership, Kentucky Press Association members will have the opportunity to participate in a nationwide group discount program to accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express card transactions.

So Aaron Luebbers or someone from Infintech might be contacting you, or already has. We hope you’ll take the call and listen to what Infintech can do you for (such as save you some dollars on your credit card processing). It’s not a company using KPA’s name as many will do to get their foot in the door; it’s a company we’re working closely with.

But you don’t have to wait for Infintech to contact you. If you’re wanting a credit card servicing company, visit or call Aaron Lubbers, (859) 816-7951 for more information.

Ranked as one of Inc. Magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies, Infintech was founded on the principles of offering the very best in the latest payment equipment and cutting-edge technologies available. Payment processing solutions include retail, commercial card, mobile and online processing. They support integration with nearly all POS systems, smartphone payments and e-commerce and shopping cart integration. Visit for more information.

The partnership moved KPA to being able to accept credit card payments online for conventions, seminars, contests, dues and all kinds of advertising networks and opportunities we have. If you’re entering one of the KPA contests, then you’ll experience that move.

Tax Reform Bill Would Have Negative Impact on Newspapers

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp released in late February a comprehensive tax reform package with the goal of fixing “America’s broken tax code by lowering tax rates while making the code simpler and fairer.” At the heart of the sweeping proposal is the lowering of the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent, and consolidating the seven individual tax brackets into two – a 10 percent and 25 percent bracket. There is, however, a 10 percent surcharge assessed on some professionals earning $450,000 or more in income. 

In order to get revenue that would offset this lowering of rates the chairman is proposing major changes in the business and individual sections of the federal tax code, and some of these changes would have a serious impact on newspapers across the country. For example, the legislative proposal would:

•           Require a newspaper (or any publication) to deduct the cost of circulation development over a three-year period instead of in the year the cost is incurred;

•           Increase from 15 to 20 years the period over which a newspaper could deduct the cost of intangible assets that are acquired in a transaction; and

•           Create a new “safe harbor” provision for the classification of workers that would require federal income tax withholding on payments to independent contractors.

All of these provisions are problematic but the biggest blow to newspapers, other media and advertisers is a provision in the proposal that would limit the business deduction for advertising expenses. Since the creation of the Tax Code more than 100 years ago, advertising has been treated as an ordinary and necessary business expense that is fully deductible, just like salaries, rent, utilities and office supplies. Under the proposal, a business would be able to deduct only 50 percent of their advertising costs in the year that ads are purchased and expense the other 50 percent over a 10-year period. There is an exemption for businesses with advertising expenses of $1 million or less. So, under this approach, an automobile dealer that spends $6 million this year on advertising for 2014 models can deduct $3 million and spread the remaining $3 million over 10 years. This means that the dealer would be able to recover the last 10 percent or $300,000 of the cost of advertising a 2014 car model in the year 2024.

While NAA commends Chairman Camp for putting forward proposals to start the conversation on tax reform, we respectfully argue that many provisions are not grounded in sound economic policy. Limiting the business deduction for advertising costs has more to do with raising revenue to offset the 25 percent corporate rate than a sturdy economic theory justifying a major alteration in 100 years of tax policy. 

The two leading economic experts on the role of advertising in the economy, Dr. Kenneth Arrow and Dr. George Stigler, have said, “Proposals to change the tax treatment of advertising are not supported by the economic evidence.” In fact, the economic evidence demonstrates that advertising is a key engine for economic activity and job creation in this country. A recent study by IHS Global Insight for the Advertising Coalition, of which NAA is a member, estimates that every $1 spent on advertising generates nearly $22 in economic activity (sales) and every million dollars in advertising supports 81 American jobs. This same study projected that advertising driven sales of products and services help support 21.7 million jobs or 16 percent of the 136.2 million jobs in the U.S.

In our view, this proposal would make advertising more expensive and likely will reduce the overall spend on advertising. This will limit the ability of sellers to connect with buyers just when our economy is beginning to find firm footing. This will also come at the worst time for newspapers and other media that rely on advertising to support the distribution of news and other information in our local communities. 

In the months ahead, NAA will be working closely with our member newspapers as we educate policy makers on the negative impact of these tax reform proposals on newspapers and other media. As the process moves forward, we will provide periodic updates.

It’s April; it’s Child Abuse Prevention Month; special packet available from KPA

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Governor Beshear recently signed the proclamation for this special attention. Last year, many newspapers used information from a KPA packet prepared by the Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky coalition, headquartered in Lexington. There are actually four pdfs below — one is the packet for newsrooms with story ideas and contact information at PCAK to speak to an authority on child abuse in Kentucky.

2014 Child Abuse Prevention Month Media Packet


PCAK-9391 v2

PCAK-9391 v3

The other pdfs are three ads — as a public service — promoting Child Abuse Month in Kentucky. Feel free to add your newspaper logo to the ad or if there are organizations or businesses within your county that would be interested in sponsoring one of the ads, sell it to them and include their name/logo.

Last year’s involvement of Kentucky newspapers in Child Abuse Prevention Month was impressive and PCAK was deeply appreciative of your support.

Two-thirds have filled their internship slot     

Eighteen of the 26 total Host Newspapers and Host Companies for the 2014 internship program have filled their slots and the rest are nearing a decision on the student who will be with them for 10 weeks this summer.

The total includes 15 of the 23 internships with newspapers and all three KPA Associates internships for public relations.

It’s election season in the Bluegrass

And that affects both sides of the building — advertising and newsroom

On the advertising side, a political ad is described as any ad “for the support or defeat of a candidate.” Issues — local option elections, for instance — are not considered political ads under the law even though those probably are for support or defeat. But those are “issue” ads, not “candidate” ads.

The most frequently asked question is about the disclaimer required, especially when a candidate pays for the ad. Another concerns social media and whether a disclaimer is required:

Here’s the latest word from the Registry of Election Finance on disclaimers and social media/electronic communications:

The candidate may pay for the ad.  The disclaimer would be “Paid for by …(and the name of the candidate),” but never ever “Paid for by candidate.”

Social media/Electronic communications has not yet been addressed by the registry for requiring a disclaimer. Here’s the answer to that question:

“Kentucky’s campaign finance laws and regulations do not directly address the issue of whether an advertising disclaimer is required on a political campaign’s Internet web page or other electronic communication.  The campaign may use free Internet resources and the campaign’s election finance statements would not reflect any expenditure associated with Internet activities.  When asked about Internet issues, the Registry regularly cautions campaigns that anyone could print out the campaign’s web content and distribute it as a campaign advertisement.  Likewise, a candidate’s political opponent may create a web page very similar to the candidate’s webpage and use the page to publish derogatory information about the candidate.  For this reason, the Registry recommends that a candidate include an advertising disclaimer on his or her campaign web page or other electronic communications even though Kentucky law does not currently require it.  Furthermore, the Registry recommends that a campaign include language indicating that web pages (or similar electronic communications) are for Internet use only.”

Your ad staff is invited/encouraged to contact the Registry of Election Finance with questions. In fact, here’s a message from the registry to me about contacting them:

“You may want to include something like, ‘If you have specific questions regarding any Kentucky campaign finance issue, you may always contact the Registry directly at 502-573-2226 and they will be happy to assist you.’”

The future’s newsrack is here, now

By Michael Depp

The digital revolution is finally coming to the newspaper rack.

The RedPost is the brainchild of Kerry Oslund (Ieft), VP of digital for South Bend-based Schurz Communications, which owns the South Bend Tribune, and Eric Kanagy, CEO of the RedPost, Inc.

The RedPost is the brainchild of Kerry Oslund (Ieft), VP of digital for South Bend-based Schurz Communications, which owns the South Bend Tribune, and Eric Kanagy, CEO of the RedPost, Inc.

Next week, about a dozen retailers in South Bend, Ind., will see the traditional, single-copy sales racks for The South Bend Tribune replaced by backlit, wood-framed units over five feet tall, crowned with a 9-X-16-inch digital display. That screen will run a combination of the newspaper’s headlines, tweets, live radar, video and other content, punctuated by advertisements.

The RedPost, as its creators are calling it, is the brainchild of Kerry Oslund, VP of digital for South Bend-based Schurz Communications, which owns the  Tribune,  and Eric Kanagy, CEO of the RedPost, Inc., based in Goshen, Ind. The two came together after Schurz began scoping out possibilities in what’s known as the digital out-of-home network (DOOH), an emerging terrain that includes digital billboards as well as gas station pump top displays and screens in elevators.

RedPost itself launched in 2007 as a software company that evolved into running its own digital display network. For its part, it saw the partnership benefits of tapping into Schurz’s sales and marketing resources with the new endeavor. Schurz, in turn, found a partner that had already built a software foundation to upload content into the displays, and the media company now holds a minority ownership stake in RedPost.

Read more

Sunshine Week – 2014

Yes, it’s already passed but I’ve been getting clips and I’m impressed with the number of you who ran stories, editorials, guest editorials, cartoons and other stories about Open Government. And that’s the purpose of Sunshine Week! Kudos to Kentucky newspapers for making sure the public, and politicians, knows what’s right and what’s wrong when it comes to sun shining on government.

Set ground rules now for barrage of election letters

By Jim Pumarlo

Election season poses a host of questions for editors as they sift through the natural upsurge in letters. For those in the midst of spring elections, editors

Jim Pumarlo

Jim Pumarlo

are likely making many decisions on the fly. For the primary and general elections later this year, it’s not too early to set the ground rules.

Then share the policy with as broad an audience as possible, including candidates and their campaign managers. It’s an excellent topic for a column to readers.

Election season is an opportunity to get fresh voices on your page. The ultimate goal is to serve the electorate by offering a lively debate on the pros and cons of candidates and issues. At the same time, editors face the headache of sifting through organized letter-writing campaigns.

Here is one list of dos and don’ts that newspapers consider when offering their “advice to readers” for editorial page submissions.

Stick to local authors. Unless the circumstances are extraordinary, it’s reasonable to reject letters from residents outside your readership area.

Focus on local issues. Election coverage on your news pages predominantly focuses on local issues. The strongest letters should highlight the local perspective of issues.

Make letters substantive. We’re all familiar with the standard litany of candidate attributes – trustworthy, hardworking, honest, accessible, dedicated to family and committed to representing the interests of their constituents. Such endorsements shed little light on the candidates and likely do little to advance their electability. Feel free to aggressively edit these letters and reserve space for letters that address meaningful issues.

Keep the exchanges civil. Encourage writers to focus on the issues and provide the appropriate sources for their facts. It’s well within newspapers’ purview to reject those letters that are strictly personal in nature.

Set ground rules for rebuttal. Space is too previous to allow long-running exchanges among candidates and their supporters. Considering allowing each individual two letters; each has an opportunity for a rebuttal after the initial exchange. Someone always will have the “last word.”

Don’t ramble. Readers grow tired of lengthy letters on the same subjects and letters columns dominated by the same writers. A short letter to the point has greater impact than a rambling letter repetitive in its message.

Limit target of letters. Exceptions might arise, but as a general rule, newspapers should be careful about allowing candidates to write letters in response to issues raised in paid ads. The best guideline is that candidates respond to the message in the same avenue as the original message. Campaigns are right to be upset if their paid ads are rebutted on a regular basis in the free letters column.

Allow candidates to submit letters – with restrictions. Keep in mind that candidates have the opportunity to advance their positions on issues in a variety of avenues – and not just through paid advertising. They routinely issue press releases and participate in forums. Editors should be attentive to the savvy candidates who methodically submit letters as a strategy to supplement or replace paid advertising.

Verify all letters. The process is tedious and time consuming, but the possibility of fake authors is not far-fetched.

One of the most important guidelines is the deadline for letters that raise new issues that might warrant a response from the other side. Eleventh-hour charges fall into two camps, each prompting a different handling: Some letters are strategically lobbed in the final days; the information is known well in advance but surfaces late with the hope that it might deliver a knockout punch. Editors are well within their bounds to reject this type of letter altogether – even if the point might have proved legitimate had the letter arrived earlier.

In rare cases, letters might raise an issue that truly just came to light and warrants public attention. In the worst-case scenario, a letter might arrive with only one edition prior to the election. Editors have a couple of options: One avenue is to do a news story. The reporter can contact all the parties involved, noting the circumstances of how the issue was raised. Or the newspaper might decide to publish the letter, but let the “opponent” see the letter in advance and write a response. Both letters would be published alongside each other with an explanatory editor’s note. The “other side” may not want to respond, but the offer should be extended.

Editors can be subjective in deciding whether to publish these letters. At the core is whether the newspaper has time to do justice with the information, despite how compelling it might be.

Editors’ best defense is their offense: Publish the letters policy early and often, so writers cannot complain – with any basis – that they weren’t aware of deadlines. Then stick to the deadlines. If 5 p.m. is the cutoff, check with the front desk when the hour strikes. Clear the fax machine and e-mails. And then be prepared for the creative challenges – that the newspaper’s clock must be five minutes faster or that an errand took longer than expected to make the delivery tardy. The excuses are most amusing when they come from veteran managers who have coordinated letter campaigns for years.

Jim Pumarlo writes, speaks and provides training on community newsroom success strategies. He is author of “Journalism Primer: A Guide to Community News Coverage,” “Votes and Quotes: A Guide to Outstanding Election Coverage” and “Bad News and Good Judgment: A Guide to Reporting on Sensitive Issues in Small-Town Newspapers.” He can be reached at and welcomes comments and questions

Upcoming Schedule:

April 10 – Planning session on Border War II Golf tournament, The Battle at Crooked Creek. Golf tournament for the benefit of the foundations associated with the Kentucky Press and Tennessee Press Associations.

April 15 – 2014 Kentucky General Assembly adjourns sine die

April 17 – KPA/KPS Board of Directors Meeting, 12 noon, Governor’s Mansion, Frankfort

April 29 – Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame induction luncheon, The Grand Reserve, Manchester Street, Lexington

September 18 – Border War II: The Battle at Crooked Creek, London

October 23 – 24 – 2014 KPA Fall Board Retreat, Dale Hollow Lake State Park, Albany

Upcoming webinars – good training for free to $35

April 11, 2014 – Online Media Campus

Creating a Branding Image of Yourself

Registration fee: $35

2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern/1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Central

Your image is the visual enhancement of your technical skills and level of professionalism. You may be the best at what you do, but if you don’t put your best food forward from an image standpoint, then you may face obstacles to career advancement. In this webinar, we will:

– Discuss the concept of professional image and the importance it has on our career path.

– Identify ways that we can enhance or hinder our professional image.

– Explore strategies to intentionally communicate a professional image that supports the message we are trying to send.

Presenter: Denise Forney, organizational training and development professional with over 18 years of progressive management and training expertise.

April 15, 2014 – LMA (Local Media Assoc.)

Expanding your Digital Product Portfolio – Display Audience Extension

3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern/2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Central

For cost contact: Mike MacDonald – Partner consultant; (303)571-5117, ext. 19

SYNC2 Media / LMA Digital Partnership presents: Go beyond your inventory and sell an entire audience to your advertiser using Targeted Display.

April 17, 2014 – Online Media Campus

Short and Smart: Mobile Video Storytelling

Registration fee: $35

2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern/1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Central

Demand for short, timely video is high on all news websites. In this session you will learn how to shoot short videos with a smart phone or tablet. The focus is on 30- to 60-second video that requires no or very minimal editing and can be posted quickly. Skills include sequences of shots, getting high-quality audio from your device, shooting the best five shots, and more.

Presenter: Val Hoeppner is director of education and is based at the Diversity Institute’s Nashville offices in the John Seigenthaler Center. She oversees multimedia and mobile media instruction for Freedom Forum New Media Training, the Chips Quinn Scholars program, the American Indian Journalism Institute, the Diversity Institute Multimedia Scholars Program and other academic initiatives.

April 22, 2014 – Reynolds Center


Investigating Government Contractors

9 a.m. or 1 p.m./Eastern 

In this free, hour-long webinar, learn how to find or FOIA public databases on spending on contractors at the federal and state levels, what to look for in identifying stories on contractors, and how debarment of contractors works — or not.

Presenter: Ron Nixon of The New York Times

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